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9,500 children are at below par primary schools across the Towns according to a new Ofsted report of the Medway Council's progress

Thousands of children are going to a primary school which is either inadequate or still requires improvement, according to the education watchdog.

Last year Ofsted found almost half of pupils in the Towns were at below par schools and in March an inspector visited Medway Council to check the rate of progress.

Result out today found a whopping 9,500 children are in primary education which is not classed as good or outstanding.

Pupils taking a test. Stock image.
Pupils taking a test. Stock image.

Inspectors found the local authority’s work with weaker primary schools had not driven improvement quickly enough.

The proportion of good or outstanding schools is still in the lowest 10% of all local authorities nationally.

Also not enough had been done to narrow the achievement gaps between disadvantaged and other pupils across primary, secondary and post 16 education.

However, the appointment of an interim assistant director for school effectiveness and inclusion in May 2014 is starting to have impact.

Historical weaknesses have been tackled, school leaders are working together more and expertise from outside Medway is being introduced.

Ofsted director for the south east, Sir Robin Bosher, said: “I welcome the recent school improvement work, which has started to show early benefits in the number of schools judged good or better in Ofsted inspections. However, much of this is too recent to see its full impact.

Park Wood Infant school, got a Good Ofsted. Pupils with Mr Moir (head) and staff.
Park Wood Infant school, got a Good Ofsted. Pupils with Mr Moir (head) and staff.

“The longer a child spends at an underperforming school the more likely their chance to fulfil their potential diminishes. 

“Ofsted will continue to monitor Medway council’s arrangements for school improvement and will likely re-inspect it within the next two years.”

Ofsted also found that the council had not made enough use of its statutory powers to challenge weaker leadership in primary schools.

Cllr Mike O'Brien
Cllr Mike O'Brien

But the Medway’s early years’ work stood out as a strength. Likewise, the proportion of secondary and special schools judged good or outstanding is above the national average.

Cllr Mike O'Brien, Medway's head of Children's Services, said: "We are beginning to see the impact of real progress and positive change in Medway.

"We knew we had much to do and the results we have seen recently are beginning to show success. Indeed, only last week Ofsted announced that six Medway primary schools have been rated ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ following recent inspections.

Saxon Way Primary School, Church Path, Gillingham, requires improvement
Saxon Way Primary School, Church Path, Gillingham, requires improvement

"But there is still much more to do. We will act on Ofsted recommendations immediately and we will continue to put children’s education at the heart of everything we do.

"Such a massive programme of improvement cannot be achieved overnight but there is a lot of hard work going on both at the council and in schools as we all aim for one common goal – to give our children the very best start in life."

Pupils celebrate their Outstanding Ofsted at Cliffe Woods primary
Pupils celebrate their Outstanding Ofsted at Cliffe Woods primary

Just recently Cliffe Woods and Pilgrim primary schools were graded Outstanding, while Park Wood Infant School, Miers Court Primary, St John’s Infants and Burnt Oak received good reports.

Schools recently inspected which still require improvements include Wainscott, Temple Mill and Saxon Way primaries, and Cuxton Community Junior School.


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